Dakota is a graduate of the K9 Heights 4 week Board and Train program. When I first met this family, Dakota and her brother Caesar put on quite a show during the evaluation. Dakota was super affectionate but a wild child, a jumper, and she was a chewer to the point that she had destroyed most of the furniture. Adding to the dilemma, Dakota gave her mom a super hard time when Emily tried to crate her. These two companions had the family restructuring their entire lives just to manage the chaos, which is why they contacted K9 Heights Dog Training. They needed a complete transformation in their home.
How Does Transformation Take Place?
Anyone who’s spoken with me about dog training knows I talk a lot about structure, about boundaries, limits, and something called “earning the paycheck.” Whether you’re starting a new puppy off on the right paw or trying to establish a new paradigm with a dog who has developed some serious canine behavioral problems, it must start here for success. There’s no magic wand, no short cut. Teaching, guiding, rewarding appropriate behavior and providing meaningful consequences for bad behavior is the only way. Above all, consistence is key. Our dogs don’t do well with grey areas. A great starting place to learn more about developing the right dynamic with your dog is my Key to a Successful Dog series. The first article is here. Learn how to use food and toys to gain relevance and build a great bond with your dog.
Dakota’s family and I spoke about this and I knew right away that they were committed to this process. Not everyone is. Even people dealing with aggressive dogs, dogs that run the house, are bratty and happy to “play bite” their owners, are often not ready to do what works. Frequently people equate being strict, setting limits, and yes, even ,correcting, with being mean. Huge difference, I’m talking worlds of difference, between being fair and strict, and being mean.
Often the meanest thing we do to our dogs is to be overly permissive without teaching them what to do with that freedom. The worst cases I get, dogs who are aggressive, fearful, neurotic, full of anxiety, don’t come from abuse situations. The worst cases, almost always, are from loving homes. Homes where the dog has never had to learn the most basic lesson in life for any of us living on this planet. In life, there are rules, and there are rewards and consequences for every choice.
A New Beginning
Dakota’s family agreed, they also agreed that they were ready for the work that would take place once the dogs came home. Dog training and achieving true transformations is only possible with serious change. Working with this family is wonderful. They get it. Right from the beginning, I always council clients that the real work starts when the dog returns to their old environment. They will push limits, test resolve, see if mom is really serious about this new routine. That’s the key. If we don’t change our paradigm, the dog will happily return to their former ways. But Dakota’s family is committed, and that’s what creates success in dog training.
When we took Dakota home for the first lesson with her family, Emily did great. It doesn’t matter what a dog will do for us. It matters what they’ll do, reliably, for their family. That’s why we work so closely with them during the time following the Board and Train. That’s where transformation and success happen. Check out the video and see what you think.
It is a great joy to work with wonderful people. I can’t say enough good things about this kind, committed family. Dakota’s mom said she is doing great and I look forward to our follow up lesson!